Legendary Pastry Chef Anna Polyviou takes on Shangri-La

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For a few weeks now a dessert degustation hype has been the new next thing towards sweet tooth fans and I believe there’s a social media hype going on around Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on.

After years managing pastry and baking operations at Bather’s Pavilion and featured in Lux Bite dessert night 2012, just recently Sydney Shangri-la Hotel has welcomed a very talented award-winning passionate pastry chef Anna Polyviou, as their new executive pastry chef.

She and her intriguing team have established their very first dessert degustation promotion in June in Shangri-La’s pastry kitchen lab. It takes place every Wednesday, but unfortunately last night was the final session. (Seats limited to 20 people per session, $105 per person).

Only 80 lucky people experienced this exclusive event and I was truly thrilled to be one of them. *Insert happy dance*

Fingers crossed that Anna plans to create a few more of these scrumdiddilyumpshus events. I’d describe this degustation overall to be sugar orgasm on every plate!

Anna at Shangri-la (1)

Thank You Bonnie for organising this awesome dessert degustation!

We know degustation can be a tad traditional at times. Unlike a “usual” degustation, Anna took her inspirations to a whole new level, introducing a casual and relaxed atmosphere, where 20 of us watched our desserts being hand crafted and decorated in front of us by Anna and her hard working team .

Seeing  the drama , chaos and entertainment in the kitchen, I seriously thought there would be a few hiccups or two, seeing as I was watching my dessert being prepared right before my eyes.  I didn’t need to worry as the entire evening went smoothly without a fuss .

Due to traffic and weather I happened to arrive half an hour earlier than the scheduled event. I sat on the large comfy, cozy sofas of the lounge amongst the other fortunate guests when the extremely friendly and professional Shangri-La team , mostly Kevin greeted me with a shiny champagne glass of NV Chandon.

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Glass of NV Chandon

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After a few sips, we were then escorted through the maze of the hotel to the spacious pastry kitchen, where Anna and her team warmly greeted us. Anna is fun and quite a down to earth character!

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Anna at Shangri-la (7)

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Anna at Shangri-la (13)

Managed to take a few photos of Anna’s Team preparing our coma inducing desserts!

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Anna at Shangri-la (22)

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We were greeted again by Anna and her team and explained to us what would we be expecting during the evening.  In my opinion just before the degustation had begun my expectation was sky high. I expected a lot of chocolate throughout the evening and that’s usual. But I was utterly wrong! She had created a “tongue-smacking” experience I cannot imagine. It’s not just chocolate! We had a variety of seasonal fruits that made it far more interesting.

To kick start, was a mouth watering dessert called “Anna’s Liquid Mess“ –  Vanilla bavarois crème shaped in a semi sphere with what Anna calls “holes and everybody loves it” covered in pink cocoa powder, beneath a crunchy base served with freshly cut strawberries, a dollop of strawberry sorbet , pop rocks, baby basil and meringue. An appealing tasty dish! The pop rock was a blast full of fuzziness’ in my mouth. Most likeable dessert of the night.

Anna at Shangri-la (14)

Anna’s Liquid Mess: Vanilla crème, strawberry, popping rocking

It was very eye catching to watch the chefs  pour a jug of warm syrupy strawberry coulis on the dessert, instantly liquefying the white chocolate sphere and creating  a complete appetizing  dish.

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Next dessert “Lemon Twist“, was a lemon soufflé drizzled with lemon curd sauce.  It truly was a twist with a small test tube filled with lime sherbet for the sugar fever lovers and a spoon full of lemon . This was a “toe-curling” outcome with the acidic texture, crunchy but soft in the soufflé, eye popping with the additional lime fizzy test tube. It was heavenly tangy!

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“Lemon Twist”: Lemon meringue, lemon curd, lemon fizz

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Lemon sorbet

In between our splendid desserts, “Re-freshen Apples” was the palate purifier infused with the element of apples. As a result it was pleasing to the palate as a cleanser.

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Re-freshen Apples

Anna mentioned this dessert was inspired by her close friend John Ralley, a pastry chef at Wildfire.

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Anna assembling “Re-freshen Apples”

The unique shaped glass contained with sweet and sour apples,  green apple jelly, a taste of cinnamon crumbles, fennel sorbet and caramelised with white chocolate crème. To complete the dish one layer of crunchy almond tuile. Incredibly amazing! Looked like a garden-fresh dessert.

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The following dessert, “Caramelize me Casey“, was an absolutely sinful dish and a personal experience for Anna, as she said she put it together for her partner, including all her beloved flavours and textures like candied popcorn, fresh banana puree, my favourite passionfruit sorbet and caramel ice cream. I was really fascinated with the chocolate sponge.

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“Caramelize me”-Banana, caramel, passionfruit, popcorn

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This dessert is fit for a king! With a mix of savoury, yet a honey-glazed taste of chocolate gateau. In my opinion a sensational rollicking dessert!

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Our last dessert “Lick” a finger-licking parfait ice-cream yoghurt attached on a wooden popsicle stick topped with crunchy caramel with liquefied pearl mango jelly all around prepared by a friend of hers overseas, crunchy honeycomb, the bottom sprinkled with chocolate crumbles and garnished with baby herbs. A splendid way to bring the degustation to an end.

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“Lick”: Yoghurt ice-cream, honeycomb, mango pearls and cacao

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20 guests were attracted towards “Take me home” stand, where Oreo and Honeycomb prettified into appealing candied chocolate lollipops with a happy face, additionally modified the likable Snickers bars and Red Skin macarons.

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“Take me home” stand

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Anna’s Lolli Pop

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Anna at Shangri-la (39)Anna’s Snicker Bar

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Anna’s Red Skin macarons

I was quite surprised I was the only one who brought an SLR, perhaps camera phones tend to be the new hip thing?

It was such an unforgettable memorable experience and opportunity to see Anna Polyviou and her team work their magic with sweets! On a side note, I made a few fanatical foodie friends. This degustation is a jaw dropping work of dessert art! Thank you Anna and her team for making a magical sugar high evening for us.

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Had a lovely chat with the Amazing Anna !

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You know… just me & Anna ! 🙂

Photos by Vanny Tang

Shangri-La Lobby Lounge on Urbanspoon


19 thoughts on “Legendary Pastry Chef Anna Polyviou takes on Shangri-La

    Cassandra Leong 梁欣琪 (@__cassiiieee) said:
    June 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    OMG LIKE YUM!!!!

      Nessy Eater responded:
      June 28, 2013 at 10:26 PM


    Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said:
    June 28, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    You lucky thing! Those desserts look absolutely divine!

      Nessy Eater responded:
      June 28, 2013 at 10:28 PM

      I felt so lucky too! It was such a magical evening and yes all the desserts were amazing! 😀

    grabyourfork said:
    July 1, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Wow it all looks amazing. And that’s the fanciest Snickers bar I’ve ever seen!

      Nessy Eater responded:
      July 1, 2013 at 11:05 PM

      Tasted so good! And did I the mention peanuts were dusted in gold ! 😀

    milkteaxx said:
    July 1, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    lucky you! what a fab event! im drooling!

      Nessy Eater responded:
      July 1, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      Thanks! I’d say it was just perfect timing ! 😀

    Christine (@cookingcrusade) said:
    July 2, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    What a fun evening! A dessert dego sounds like a wonderful idea 🙂

      Nessy Eater responded:
      July 2, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      Yes haha sure was ! 😀 😀 😀 I’m starting to have an addition for dessert dego.

    Ramen Raff said:
    July 8, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Oh wow, redskin macs! I haven’t been back to the Shang in ages! Now there’s more reason for me to return.

      Nessy Eater responded:
      July 8, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      Redskin macarons were DELICIOUS ! So too the snickers bar, another reason to return 😛

    […] I visited this hotel as my dear friend Kevin who works at Shangri-La had recognised my face from Anna Polyviou’s First Degustation and The Asian Dessert Degustation featuring Bernard Yu and Yen Yee of Melbourne’s […]

    Anna turns Asian for Luxbite Bernard Chu | Nessy Eater said:
    September 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    […] dessert prays have been answered when I previously posted Anna Polyviou First degustation at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney . As I crossed my fingers and hoped she would create another […]

    […] Polyviou, Head Pastry Chef, Shangri-la Hotel Sydney (Check out my review here and here with Luxbite) and MANY MANY MORE Celebrity […]

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    […] and Kumar Pereira from series 3 of MasterChef, executive pastry chef at Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel Anna Polyviou and Helen from Grab Your Fork. By the time the cloak hit 7pm, the artist welcomes everyone and […]

    Drool Worthy World said:
    June 27, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Incredible photos :O Anna is so talented! 😀

      Nessy Eater responded:
      June 27, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      Fanks for the comment. Totes agree Anna’s gifted!

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